La Cava Notches 100th Win on Successful First Day of USTA/ITA Fall Regionals

Saturday, Sep 22, 2012

Andrew La Cava, Jr.

Beaverton, Ore.- Looking to build on their recent dominance of the USTA/ITA Fall Regional, the Whitman men's tennis team advanced six players to the Round of 16 Saturday.

 At the top of the draw, two-time defending champion and #1 seed Andrew La Cava (Bellevue, WA) made quick work of his opponents, defeating Levi Huddleson of Whitworth 6-1, 6-0 in the first round before topping Chace Stalcup of George Fox 6-0, 6-1 in the second. La Cava will play Pacific's Brandon Schlack at 10 tomorrow morning.

Joining La Cava in the top quarter will be sophomore and 13-seed Colton Malesovas (Austin, TX), who advanced to the Round of 16 with a pair of straight set victories over Pacific's Ty Tanaka and Lewis and Clark's Kevin Ross. If Malesovas can upset #5 seed Justin McClain of George Fox tomorrow morning, he will most likely meet La Cava for a rematch of their 2011 quarterfinal match, which La Cava won 6-4, 6-4.

In the bottom half, #6 seed and all-NWC second team selection James Rivers (Honolulu, HA) swept through his first two matches into the second day. In his first round, he ousted George Fox's Peter Brown 6-1, 6-2 before topping Pacific's Bryan Kyaw 6-2, 6-0 in the second. Tomorrow, Rivers will meet George Fox's Andy Tweet, who pulled off a couple 3-set upsets this morning to reach the third round.

Rivers appears on track for a quarterfinal date with 4th-seeded Andy Riggs (Auburn, CA). Riggs joins the Whitman team as a junior transfer this year after a successful sophomore campaign at Stevens Technical Institute in New York, NY. Riggs impressed in his Whitman debut, winning his first two matches 6-1, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-1 against Jake Peterson (UPS) and Kolin Wong (Pacific), respectively. He will play George Fox's Preston Mann, one of the four #13 seeds, in the third round.

  Sam Sadeghi, Sr.

The last two Whitman seeds, 13th-seeded sophomore Steven Roston (Burlingame, CA) and 9th-seeded senior Sam Sadeghi (Los Angeles, CA), cruised through their opening round matches as well. Roston won his first round 6-0, 6-1 over Hayden McCarthy (PLU) before ousting Sam Wexman of Willamette 6-1, 6-3 in the second round to earn his spot in the Round of 16, where he will meet George Fox's Shawn Aldrich, another one of the #9 seeds. Sadeghi trudged through his first two rounds, beating Lewis and Clark's Daniel Ham 6-0, 6-2 and Pacific's Lorne Bulling 6-3, 6-2. If the two win their respective 3rd-round matches, they will meet in the quarterfinals, but Sadeghi will have his work cut out for him.

The road to the quarters won't be easy for either, however. Up next for Sadeghi is Willamette senior Josh Wong, who is the #2 seed and a two-time all-NWC first team selection. Wong earned his spot in the last 16 courtesy of a 6-4, 6-4 win over Whitman freshman Noah Lee (Forestville, CA). Lee was unfortunate to draw Wong in his first round after cruising through qualifying. After a grueling first set, Lee and Wong traded breaks of service for the first 9 games of the second set before Wong finally managed to hold for the victory. The defeat was a tough pill to swallow for Lee, but overall, it was an impressive debut for the first year.

Four other Whit netters didn't make it through to the second day of singles action. Senior Matt Tesmond (Cincinatti, OH) won his first round match against Joel Trousdale of Linfield, but fell in a heartbreaker against 13th-seeded Chris Lilley (GFU) 6-4, 6-4 in the second round. After losing the 1st set, Tesmond fell down 0-5 in the second and rallied to 4-5 and saved four match points before Lilley was finally able to put the match away.

First year Alex Noyes (Covington, WA) suffered a similar fate in his first-round match. Coming up against the #7 seed, Giancarlo Battaglia of Pacific University, Noyes started off strong with a 6-3 first set victory. Battaglia took an early lead in the second set before Noyes broke to level the second set at 5-5. From there, Battaglia displayed why he was a second team all-NWC selection last year, as he recovered to win the next two games for a 7-5 second set victory.  The two combatants then played a 10-point tiebreaker to decide the match where Battaglia jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the tiebreaker. Noyes then saved three match points to draw within 9-7, but Battaglia uncorked a massive first serve on his 4th chance to clinch the match.

Unfortunately, Battaglia wasn't done eliminating Whitman players. In his second round, he met junior Will Huskey (Auburn, CA), a 6-3, 6-1 first round winner over Willamette's Matt Dees. Battaglia picked up where he left off, rushing to a 5-2 first set lead. After that, Huskey heated up, breaking back twice to take a 6-5 lead. That was the end of the good news for Huskey, however, as Battaglia served his way into a tiebreaker where he won 7-2. In the second set, Battaglia buffaloed his way through a dispirited Huskey for a 7-6, 6-2 victory.

Last but certainly not least, first year Hunter Nelson (Shoreline, WA) suffered a first round defeat at the hands of #9 seed Shawn Aldrich of George Fox. The first year jumped out to an early lead in the first set before the honorable mention all-conference selection bounced back, eventually taking the first set 6-4. Aldrich parlayed the momentum from the comeback into a 6-2 second set victory.

In consolation matches, Nelson fell to Pacific's David Yanagita 8-1, and Noyes trounced a pair of opponents to reach the final eight.

Despite advancing 6 players into the third round of the singles draw (a numbered matched only by George Fox), it was a less-than-stellar day on the singles courts for the five-time defending conference champions. For comparison, Whitman advanced 10 players to the Round of 16 in 2011 and 9 players in 2010.

Whitman was unfazed by the disappointing start to the tournament, however, as they took the court this evening to play the first two rounds of the doubles tournament. Whitman teams have dominated the doubles tournament in recent years, accounting for 11 of the last 12 semifinalists.

In doubles action, #2 seeds Andrew La Cava and James rivers got their tournament off to a good start by a pair of 8-0 victories over doubles teams from Whitworth and George Fox. The second victory brought La Cava's career total to 100, a very impressive feat, especially considering he is just starting his junior season. He is on pace to shatter the current Whitman tennis wins record of 157 held by Phaukin Mam.

Matt Tesmond, Sr.

#3 seeds Matt Tesmond (a defending doubles champion) and Andy Riggs also advanced with relative ease, beating a Whitworth doubles team 8-0 in the first round before returning to the court for a 8-4 victory over Linfield's Zach Lyons and Micah Roos.

A pair of 5th-seeded Whitman doubles teams will join their teammates in the quarterfinals. Sam Sadeghi and Colton Malesovas won their two matches 8-1 and 8-2 over Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth, respectively, while Steven Roston and Noah Lee advanced with 8-2 and 8-4 wins over Puget Sound and Pacific. Sadeghi/Malesovas will meet the #1 seeds Troy Zuroske and Giancarlo Battaglia of Pacific, while Lee and Roston will meet 4th-seeded Chris Lilley and Justin McClain of George Fox, who handed Whitman its only doubles disappointment of the day with a 8-6 victory over Will Huskey and Alex Noyes in the first round.

Check back for results from tomorrow's action, when the Whitman netters will look to advance to Championship Monday. Updated singles draw information can be found here, while doubles draws can be found here.